How charming: the left has belatedly discovered something conservatives have known for 50 years or more—that environmentalism, especially in its dominant ideological forms, is prone to fascism. Remember that “environmentalism” very quickly replaced “ecology”—the more generic scientific term—not long after the first Earth Day in 1970. Keep in mind that the left was initially indifferent or even hostile to “the ecology craze” (as some leftist critics called it at the time), but they soon figured out the potential for the issue. “Ecology,”New Republic writer James Ridgeway wrote, “offered liberal-minded people what they had longed for, a safe, rational and above all peaceful way of seeming to remake society . . . [and] developing a more coherent central state. . .” Except for the “safe, rational and peaceful” part, he was on to something! And people think it started with the Green Nude Eel.
For a good background to this, see Elizabeth Nickson’s book, Eco-Fascists, or this excerpt from Rupert Darwall’s fine book Green Tyranny: Exposing the Totalitarian Roots of the Climate Industrial Complex.
It has always been considered bad form to point out that the German Nazis had a conscious environmental quotient to their ideology, but what’s this? The Washington Post noted yesterday that two of the recent mass shooters—the New Zealand shooter last year and the El Paso shooter two weeks ago—embraced environmental themes, fusing them together in fact with anti-immigration views. The Post is shocked and befuddled at this seeming anomaly (though to be fair, the Post notes as briefly as possible: “Ecofascism has deep roots. There is a strong element of it in the Nazi emphasis on “blood and soil,” and the fatherland. . .) But this is only anomalous to clueless liberals, who suffer cognitive impairment when it comes to imagining the connection between the anti-natalism of the “population bomb” mentality and seeing immigration as a driver of population growth:
The statements that authorities think the men posted online share another obsession: overpopulation and environmental degradation. . .
The alleged Christchurch shooter, who is charged with targeting Muslims and killing 51 people in March, declared himself an “eco-fascist” and railed about immigrants’ birthrates. The statement linked to the El Paso shooter, who is charged with killing 22 people in a shopping area this month, bemoans water pollution, plastic waste and an American consumer culture that is “creating a massive burden for future generations.” . . .
Many white supremacists have latched onto environmental themes, drawing connections between the protection of nature and racial exclusion. . .
The alleged El Paso shooter’s document is full of existential despair: “My whole life I have been preparing for a future that currently doesn’t exist.”
Gee—where would these kids have learned these ideas about our despairing future?* Oh that’s right—from just about any eco-tract, university course, or leading politician (let’s recall the similarities between the Unabomber manifesto and Al Gore’s Earth in the Balance.)
But don’t worry: Environmentalists are on it, and stand ready to make sure their essential creed can be fit into the current main party line of the left:
Michelle Chan, vice president of programs for Friends of the Earth, said, “The key thing to understand here is that ecofascism is more an expression of white supremacy than it is an expression of environmentalism.” . .
There is a danger of “apocalypticism,” said Jon Christensen, an adjunct assistant professor at the University of California at Los Angeles who has written extensively on the use and misuse of dystopian environmental scenarios.
Because isn’t everything about white supremacy these days?
* My contribution to Twitter yesterday:
Addendum: The New York Review of Books was on to this problem last fall, in “The Menace of Ecofascism.” It ended thus:
Much of what the German émigré critical theorist Theodor Adorno had to say about fascism and democracy in 1959 applies equally well to fascism and environmentalism today: the survival of these tendencies within environmentalism could be potentially more menacing than the survival of fascist tendencies against environmentalism.
Heh. Pass the popcorn please.